If you are regular readers of Mudpie Fridays then you will know that we really enjoyed our trip to Marwell in the Summer. So we were really excited when they asked us to come back and experience Christmas at Marwell. Not only did we get to explore the Zoo but we also got to meet the big man himself.

Before we headed into our experience which was booked for the early afternoon we decided to visit some of our favourite animals. When we have visited before the Cheetahs are normally sleeping. So we were very happy to find them up and about and prowling around their enclosure.

They live right next to the Giraffe House which are both mine and Monkey’s favourite. Because we arrived quite early on a bright and wintery Sunday, unsurprisingly they were inside having their breakfast. I could have stood and watched them all day, I find the Giraffe House such a tranquil place and there is plenty of viewing space.

Of course the boys would only tolerate a certain amount of standing still time. One of the things I really like about Marwell is the outside space. There is always somewhere for the boys to explore in addition to seeing the animals. Monkey decided he would try and run as fast as he could and see if he could be a Cheetah himself.

Kipper on the other hand showed off his newly developed balancing skills in the play area. I had no idea that he could balance on a wobbly bridge. I think it must have kept him entertained for at least twenty minutes while Monkey haired around the rest of the park. The Christmas experience is housed in Marwell House. We arrived fifteen minutes early and waited patiently outside. Which is where the buggy park is located, theres a also a small kiosk selling drinks and snacks. We hadn’t told Monkey that he was going to meet the big man, so were pleasantly amused when he didn’t even realise after seeing the landing sign….

We began our Christmas experience in the magical Winter Forest where we were treated to mulled wine, squash and biscuits. Kipper is diary intolerant so it was nice to see that they had a diary alternative for him. While sitting enjoying our surroundings we were entertained by Bell and Jingle two of Father Christmas’s elves. There was also the opportunity for Monkey to check the big screen to see if he and his younger brother had made the ‘nice’ list. I have removed the names from the list below as there were lots of other little boys and girls who had also made the list:

Once we were fully refreshed we went through into meet Mrs Claus. All the children were invited to sit at the front and get involved in the story telling. She held all the children’s interest really well as she told the story of the Nutcracker. Its probably my favourite part of the experience, the decoration was lovely and I found it all very calming and un-stressful.

Our next stop was the Elves workshop to take part in some art and crafts. The boys got the opportunity to make their own plate with ceramic markers. They were then packaged away safely into a padded envelope for us to take home and bake in the oven. There was also the opportunity to write a letter to the big man himself. Although Monkey  didn’t get the chance as we were ushered into the next room.

Father Christmas was every authentic indeed and the room was lovely. The photographer wasn’t intrusive and you can take your own if you want to. Although the professional photos are extremely well priced when you consider the price of other similar events. One photo costs £7, two for £10 and three for £15. The photos can be brought at the end of the session. Theres even a snow leopard to keep the kids entertained while you decide.

We had a great time, and the boys were very appreciative of the gifts which Father Christmas gave them. Kipper loved his so much that he refused to let it go and its nice that its something age appropriate and substantial. I think the price of Kipper ticket only just paid for his gift.

Things you need to know:

  • The experience lasts between 60 and 80 minutes – there are toilets available throughout for little ones.
  • The zoo is open as normal, from 10am – 4.00pm. Guests who book onto daytime Christmas sessions (10.30am, 11.15am, 12.00pm, 12.45pm, 2.00pm , 2.45pm and 3.30pm) will be able to explore the zoo as part of their ticket on the day. For guests who book onto the evening Christmas sessions, from 4.00pm, entry to the zoo is not included but they will receive a return ticket, from the elves, on arrival at the Hall to return to visit the again by the 17 March 2018.
  • Booking is available online on the Marwell Christmas website – time slots can be selected with live availability updates
  • Adults cost £25 each, a child £28 and a toddler £15



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We were given entry to Christmas at Marwell for the purpose of this review all words and opinions are my own.


  1. Tee Simpson

    Looks like a fab filled day out for the kids

  2. Deborah Clarke

    Looks like a great fun filled day out . Would love to take the grandkids love day .

  3. Tee Simpson

    This is one of the zoos I havent been to yet. Looks really good


    This looks wonderful fun, my grandchildren would enjoy it

  5. Harriet Leonard

    This sounds like a lovely day out! I love the photo with Father Christmas


    My grandchildren would really love something like this & so would I, it looks wonderful

  7. Tracy Nixon

    Looks great fun for the family! Thanks for the review!

  8. Kerry Taylor

    What a lovely Christmas day out. And great to see they cater for food allergies as well. definitely one to bear in mind!

  9. Michael Botzaropoulos

    Looks like you all had a great time. As a family we love Christmas time and try and get as much done as we can ! Would love to give this a go but a little far for us to travel.

  10. Lorna Ledger

    You know, I have never been to a Zoo at the Winter time and have often wondered at how the animals interact when it’s colder! Thank you for your lovely post x

  11. Jane Davies

    Looks lovely, love the photos ! Unfortunately my youngest (for some reason!) can’t stand the zoo so we don’t tend to go to zoo’s 🙁 hopefully when she’s a little older we’ll be able to !

  12. Rich Tyler

    We love Marwell, such a great family day out making memorys

  13. john prendergast

    looks like you had a great day out

  14. Kerry Kilmister

    We haven’t been before, but it looks like you had a fantastic time.

  15. clair dukes

    We have never been there but it looks like a fantastic experience!

  16. Ren Taylor

    Never been here but it looks festive and fun

  17. Katie Skeoch

    Some great outdoor play with your boys, mine would love it too I’m sure!

  18. Tee Simpson

    This is one of the zoos im yet to visit. Its on the list for next year as it looks great


    Would love to visit Marwell Zoo, not sure how far it is from Cornwall but when we are on a weekend break will try to go.

  20. Karen Scott

    I haven’t been here but not only does it look like a really great zoo the Christmas experience looks well thought out and magical. Would def look into this for next year 🙂 xx

  21. Margaret Gallagher

    I ve never been to Marwell looks an amazing place – maybe ill get there in 2018

  22. caroline tokes

    This looks like a fab day out love going to places like that

  23. paula cheadle

    I’d never heard of Marwell zoo before, but we seen Santa at our light switch on in Town


    My daughter took my grandchildren to visit Santa at a zoo near us and they all had a fantastic time there too

  25. sharon stanley

    The Christmas experience looks amazing. It’s a shame we live so far away in Solihull

  26. I’d never heard of Marwell zoo before your posts.

  27. Gemma Massey

    I hope I’m not deleted for posting a second post I wrote on the wrong one oops but it looks lovely there I’ve never been but great photos

  28. Gemma Massey

    Thanks for your wonderful giveaway I have bruxism so suffer a lot with my teeth and this would really help so thanks for the chance. I hope you and your family had a fab Christmas yesterday

  29. Tracey Hallmark

    Sounds like a great day out and certainly somewhere to consider for next year thank you x (PS you may just want to check a couple of typos where you’ve put Monkey is diary intolerant instead of dairy, hope you don’t mind me saying)

  30. What a lovely set of pics. It is always good to read positive reviews. Thank you.

  31. Lynda Graham

    Ive not been to Marwell – it looks great fun
    Remember going to Longleat thats my all time favourite as is the Loro Parque – Parrot Park,Tenerife, I lived very near and loved to visit.

  32. What a wonderful event. How lovely to get to see all your favorite animals AND Santa! It looks like you had a really fab day. #countrykids

  33. Looks like a fabulous Christmas event and love how happy Monkey looks to see his name on the nice list. I’m very impressed by Kipper managing to balance on the wobbly bridge – I’m sure my girls were a bit older before they could manage it. The storytelling with Mrs Claus sounds like it was good too 🙂 #countrykids

  34. We visited Marwell at Christmas too. Like you we really enjoyed it and it was an added bonus seeing all the animals too x #CountryKids x

  35. This looks amazing, and what amazing photos you’ve captured. I love giraffes they are so gorgeous. #CountryKids

  36. Kev Cannon

    We’ve not been to Marwell but it looks like a great day out – thanks for the great review and photos

  37. lesley renshaw

    I’ve never been before but it looks wonderful. I’d love take my family for a visit x

  38. Marwell Zoo is fantastic! We went there this summer too and really enjoyed it. You feel so close to the animals there. Looks like they had a fab grotto too! #countrykids

  39. Looks like you all had a wonderful time exploring the zoo, I’d love to visit the giraffe house too, I bet it’s really relaxing. Monkey looks so excited meeting Santa, I bet he was so happy when he realised what was happening. There’s some fab activities to take part in too which is wonderful, I bet the boys haven’t stopped talking about it!

  40. Lyndsey Cooksey

    I’ve never been to Marwell before, hadn’t heard of it either but looks brilliant! The photos look really good too. Not too badly priced either. The snow leapard looks like cool dude too!

  41. A.E. ADKINS

    Looks very festive ans a good alternative Santa visit

  42. fiona waterworth

    Unfortunately to far for us to travel in a day however my children love the south lakes zoo, thats well worth a visit they seem to add something everytime we visit

  43. Leila Benhamida

    I never been there before. My daughter will have been terrified of the snow leopard. Lovely photos

  44. AElaine Skye Clark

    Sounds a great place to visit. Love the photo of Santa and the elves.? Great that you could take your own photos.!

  45. gaynor spanswick

    It looks and sounds amazing ,brilliant review ,thank you for sharing x ( diary intolerant and diary alternative ) lol sorry I had to say xxx I’m always making mistakes .

  46. This looks like a lovely place to visit. I think it’s lovely to have somewhere you can visit in different seasons. It looks like there is a lot to do and who doesn’t love a visit to Santa at this time of year

  47. Oh what a really lovely thing to do, and something you will all remember for a very long time! We should be moving close to Marwell next year so I am really looking forward to exploring properly. Thanks for the insight as to what we might see there! 🙂 x

  48. I’m well impressed by the gifts. It’s a real treat to get a nice gift from Santa! It’s also great to hear that the decorations were calming, that’d be a welcome change. There’s nothing like a visit with Father Christmas to get everyone in the Christmas spirit 🙂

  49. I have never been to Marwell but I am going to now google where it is exactly and see if I can squeeze in a visit next time we are back at the UK. The experience looks brilliant. It’s also great that they have catered for dairly intolerance too. Lovely photo 🙂

  50. Marwell is a great day out. I’ve never been for the Christmas experience, I love all the details they’ve done it makes all the difference. One for next year maybe x

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